Mario Kart: Double Dash: Double your fun, and mayhem.

In 1992, Super Mario Kart came onto the scene for the Super
Nintendo, and it did alright. 5 years later, Mario Kart 64 hit the Nintendo 64 with much better graphics, yet, some felt that a few things were missing. 6 years has passed now, and Nintendo has done it again, leaving the first 2 games in its dust. Mario Kart: Double Dash was a game I was able to get at half the price. See, if you wait long enough, you can get what you want without spending 50 some odd bucks for it. I’m not being cheap, just financially conscious.

Now, how is this Mario Kart different from the first 2?

So glad you asked, my inquisitive friend. The whole reason for calling it “Double Dash” is you can control 2 characters. Double the excitement, and double the traffic accidents, but I say any vehicle on the turnpike that looks like a giant mushroom with wheels ought to meet a cruel fate by crashing through the side of a bridge and being swallowed alive by man eating….hmm, it seems I’m getting off track here. Ok, basically, one character drives, and the other tosses all the items you can pick up on the road. Such familiar items will be the banana peels, and turtle shells. In addition to that, you can pick up giant eggs, massive bowser shells, and a row of fireballs that will plow the road. Item boxes come in twos as well. Once the first item is used, the second character steps in to use theirs. Actually, you can switch characters at any time, any place, even in mid-air…if you’re really daring.

Are all the same options available?

Yes, with an addition or two. For those who never played Mario Kart games, here’s what they got, optionwise. You can select the Grand Prix, where you select 2 characters and a vehicle. You have your choices of Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Luigi, Princess Peach, Wario, just to name a few. They’ve also added Daisy, Waluigi, Diddy Kong, Birdo, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi and Baby Bowser, plus many hidden characters you can unlock later. You can select from 3 speeds: 50, 100, and 150 cc. 50 is the easiest, and 150 is just crazy. The drivers are more aggressive here. Time Trial is self explanitory, but I get the feeling I’ll have to explain it. You race around the track of choice in hopes of getting the best time, which is all you’re getting, the best time. Your times can be saved with the memory card, along with any other progress you’ve made.

Battle mode takes on a new persona in the Gamecube version.
Besides popping your opponents balloons, you can try your luck at “Shine Thief”. Here, players try to grab hold of the shine from Super Mario Sunshine. Whoever has it in their possession when the time runs out wins. Bob-omb Blast has you use bombs on your opponents. I’m sure you can draw your own conclusion from there.

8 player hook-up?

While you, and 3 other players can tear up the track, 4 additional players can join in by means of the Broadband adapter. In other words, through a phone line. I have not had the chance to use this type of LAN (Local Access Network) connection. Also, I enjoy it mostly for 2 players, or just myself. Think of it this way, the more people you’ve got playing, the more you have to squint to see what the heck you’re doing on screen, unless you’ve got a REALLY big TV screen, you’re going to have trouble seeing all the action.
Otherwise, this looks like a sure-fire winner. Here are my thoughts.

Silly, but Satisfying!

Not saying it’s too silly for the most mature player, but it’s silly enough that it’s just funny, and cute. Not something that will stop macho guys like me from playing. Mario Kart: Double Dash has a unique concept. Being able to switch characters, and select any two you like, plus a vehicle is much different from its little brothers on the Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64.

The Graphics are truly amazing, and impressive. All the characters are more animated, and be sure to take notice of all the action on each track. You’ll see giant skating shyguys, a helicopter flying around. Just don’t keep your eye out for too much, or you’ll have an accident somewhere. Many of the original Super Mario Bros. Sound FX are present in this game. Turtle shells being kicked around is a good example.

The Music is delightful, and a real pleasure to listen to, as it’s always been for the last 20 years. Control varies depending on which kart you selected, because the speed, acceleration, and weight are all important factors. You wouldn’t want want your vehicle to have sluggish acceleration, or poor steering, right? Outside of that, you’ll find the controls to be simple, and user friendly. It does get insanely difficult to obtain that first place trophy in the 150 cc class, but pull it off successfully, and many hidden secrets and goodies will become available to you. Mirror tracks, secret characters, karts, the list goes on. Have fun with this game, then really focus on your steering in the later difficulties, and you should unlock everything Mario Kart: Double Dash has to offer, unless, of course, they’ve revoked your go-kart license.

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